Black with White Stripes or White with Black Stripes?

zebraMy dream is for “Transracial Adoption” to remove itself from the discussion lists on adoption blogs. Whenever I see those two words together, I cringe like I’ve just heard fingernails on a blackboard. This is because I know that adopting a child from a minority ethnic group is no different than adopting a child from any city, state, or country. A child’s ethnicity is not a factor in his adjustment unless you choose to make it an issue.

In 1992, my husband and I adopted a black child from Jamaica. We brought him home to our white family and put him in a white school. He played soccer, basketball, and football with mostly white boys. He had one black friend in elementary school and a handful in high school. Now, nineteen years old, he fully embraces his Jamaican (black) roots and his American (white) family. He notices that he’s the only black kid at the party, but it doesn’t bother him.

The history of my son’s hairstyles is testament to his ease in both worlds. When he was little we shaved his head. In middle school, he wore braids. In high school, he wanted a “fade” haircut because he was an athlete. Now, he pays a friend a lot of money to carve intricate patterns on his head when his “fro” grows out. He wears do-rags and Dave Chappelle t-shirts. He has mostly white friends, drives a white car, and has a white mother and father. I don’t know why we ever worried about our black child in his white community. He grew up loving it all.

The world is changing and we’re all spinning in the same blender. Eventually, we won’t need to worry about how we’re going to help our children fit in, if their background or skin color doesn’t match ours. Because maybe in the future, people will know better.